A view of a desert landscape in Utah.

Photo: Danita Delimont, courtesy of Shutterstok

Understanding Climate Change in Utah

Here and Now

The changing climate is changing Utah. The average temperature in Utah has increased more than 2.5° F since the beginning of the 20th century. Over the last 50 years, Utah temperatures have risen at about twice the global average. A few degrees increase may not sound like much, but a hotter climate in our region has many ripple effects. We’re already experiencing trends of increasing drought, wildfires, flash floods, and extreme heat waves. Often these ripples intersect and reinforce each other. Their impacts on our communities and our health can really add up.

Explore the Ways Utah's Climate has Changed

Heat and Health

Our Health Depends On Our Climate

A layer of smog sits over the Salt Lake Valley

Photo: salilbhatt, courtesy of Shutterstock

It can be easy to overlook the many ways our health is connected to our climate. As temperatures in Utah rise, we face more dangerous heat waves. A warmer climate is also causing a cascade of changes that worsen air and water quality, damage homes and infrastructure, and create favorable conditions for new diseases. These challenges are particularly hard on people with chronic health conditions and they can stress our mental well-being. Every bit of warming we prevent will be better for our health.

Feeling the Heat

This diagram shows some of the health challenges caused by Utah’s changing climate. Higher temperatures make the environmental health threats we already face more frequent and intense. Some threats, like wildfires and flash floods, are dangerous to the people directly in their paths and also have secondary impacts on broader community health, like poor air and water quality. Higher temperatures will lead to new health challenges as well, including the arrival of insect-borne diseases from warmer climates.

A diagram shoes various results from increasing temperatures in Utah

Infographic: Casey Clifford, © NHMU

A stethoscope and file with text "Our Climate Our Health" on a countertop

Our Climate, Our Health

Most people don't think about the changing climate when they visit their doctor, but the impacts of climate change will pose many health challenges for Utahns. 

A man stands in the desert next to a tree.

Results Will Vary

The changing climate is impacting all of us, but it doesn’t affect everyone the same way. The risks we face vary depending on where we live, our job, our age, our health, our income, our community’s history, and many other factors.

Next Step >>>

Now that we have an understanding of the impacts of climate change, both on our communities and our health, let's inspire hope by looking at solutions already being implemented here in Utah! Learn more in out our next section: Exploring Climate Change Solutions